You may only know Raleigh Ritchie as Grey Worm on Game of Thrones. Hopefully, that’s about to change. With a soulful sound well beyond his years, Raleigh Ritchie is starting to take on the UK pop charts.
I discovered Raleigh’s music about 6 months ago and immediately fell in love with his sound. His lyrics are refreshingly unique and you can tell his sound comes from his soul. Recently I had the opportunity to interview him about his music. I also snuck in a couple of Game of Thrones question. Check out the interview below.
Your first full-length album is coming out later this month. What can we expect from the new album?
I think it’s something a little bit different. I hope I’ve just written a good pop album with some thought behind it. I just want people to own it for themselves. I want them to not feel constricted by it being about me. I hope people get the album and it becomes theirs and the song becomes about whatever the songs mean to them. That’s really important to me.
Do you remember the moment you fell in love with music and singing?
I can’t really remember the first time I fell in love with music or singing. I feel like they’ve always just been in my life. My parents are both very into music. So I’ve always been in a very musical household.
I think both my parents listen to different kinds of bass music. My mum listens to a lot of dance music. My dad listens to a lot of roots and dub. Like, Reggie.
Both households (my parents are divorced) always had a lot of bass. So maybe as early as one or two I could really identify with the sound and feeling of deep bass.
When you sing your passion for the music is very apparent. Is there anything specific you do to get in this head space?
Not really no. I kind of just write about how I’m feeling already. Sometimes I might write a song about being cold that day. I don’t really get into any kind of zone. I never set out to write a type of song or anything specific. I just work out how I’m feeling and that’s what I write a song about. I guess I need to be in a fairly contemplative mood to write a song that I end up using.
You’ve described your style of music as schizophrenic, pulling from different genres of music. What are your favorite genres to pull from?
All of them. In a day, I’ll listen to all of the genres. So I don’t really have a favorite. I guess that’s what makes it schizophrenic. (laughs). I never really settle on one thing. I think if I had a favorite then I would end up being that genre. If that makes sense.
It does. Your lyrics are very different from the typical love songs. When you sit down to write a song what inspires your lyrics?
Just my life. I literally just write about how I feel at any given moment. I don’t look for inspiration. I just either feel strongly about something or if I don’t I end up not really doing anything. When I’ve settled on something I’m writing about I often have something that’s visual. There will be some sort of visual. That’s helpful. I’ll be able to picture something that’s connected to that memory or to that feeling. Then I try to describe the picture and if I can describe the picture then I can write the lyrics. Then the lyrics end up being my description of a feeling or of my description connected to that feeling.
Are there any artists or producers you would like to work with in the future?
Yeah, there’s a few. The two that I’m gonna go for aggressively are Dev Hynes and Diplo. They’re the two guys I’d like to work with the most just off the top of my head. There’s an artist in the UK called Tyler that I really like. I’d be interested to see what we’d come up with.
I’m very open to working with new people for the next album and meeting some people to collaborate with.
Your videos are very unique. How do you come up with the concepts for them?
I have one idea for a video and it links back to that whole idea I was saying about having some sort of visual cue or having an image in my head. So pretty much every song that I write I have a video idea for. Once it’s finished a lot of the time I’ll end up pitching that to the label or I’ll end up pitching a couple of ideas to the label for videos. Sometimes they get ignored or they don’t get used. Then other times they’ll use them and I’ll go looking for directors that can make it and then we kind of discuss it. It evolves from there. It either becomes something completely different and new or it will be an expanded version of what that idea was.
For the Bloodsport video, how did they take it when you came to them with that idea?
I mean actually, surprisingly, that wasn’t me. (laughs). The Bloodsport video was just pitched to me as is really. I just like it so I matched it. I was like, “Cool don’t change it. Let’s just do that.”
I thought it was very unique. It is quite controversial but it’s a really good video.
Hopefully, it’s not a violent video. I think because it’s all kind of, I guess fantastical might be the word for it, hopefully, it’s not too violent. It’s a bit tongue in cheek.
We never wanted it to be violent. We never wanted it to be graphic. It’s a metaphor. It’s not about literally shooting people. I’m not behind that at all. We didn’t want it to feel gratuitous or exciting. We wanted it to be not graphic but to also present consequences. Like the guy that I play in the video and the girl who Georgina played in the video they get their comeuppance, you know. There are consequences.
What was it like for you the first time you heard one of your songs on the radio?
(laughs). I’ve only actually heard my songs on the radio like incidentally. It’s only every happened once. I was in the shower. It was a really special one because of the DJ. I used to listen to his show every weekend and stay up late on school nights and I’d record it. It was a big deal for me. So yeah that was really cool. I slipped and broke my neck on the bath because I was so excited. (laughs). It’s was all good. It was fine.
Oh my goodness! (laughs). You’re going to start touring in April in the UK. What can fans expect from your show?
To have a party! That’s my number one rule. I hope it’s fun and I want everyone to feel like they were a part of making it good. I want everybody to leave feeling like that was the best night they’ve had all year.
It’s a very energetic show. It’s very spontaneous. Just expect to come out and have fun. I don’t take myself too seriously on stage.
Sometimes those are the best kind of shows.
I hope so. They’re my favorite kind of shows. I want my shows to be the same kind that I like going to. You know?
Of course! Do you ever plan on touring in the US?
I really want to do some shows in the US. There have been shows that were put in that I couldn’t do over the last couple of years. I have every intention of doing some shows this year. I’m just not sure when yet.
If there was only one thing people took away from your music what would you want it to be?
I feel like that’s not for me to say. If people take anything away from my music then I’m happy. Writing music helps me a lot. It helps me personally to get over my own stuff and forget. That, for me, is very rewarding so when other people listen to it whatever they get out of it is right. There’s no right or wrong way to listen to music. The worst thing that anybody could feel, to me, is apathy. Even if they don’t like it, that’s better to me than to just not feel anything.
What has been the best part of playing Grey Worm on Game of Thrones?
It’s just a good show. I’m just happy to be in a show that I like watching. I get to do stuff that I don’t get to do anywhere else. I get to learn fights and stuff and spin a spear around. It’s just fun. It’s just really fun and I like to watch it. It’s just the best group of people to work with. It’s a really nice bunch of people.
It always feels like a little holiday every year when I go back.
You film in Croatia right?
Yeah, we’ve shot in a few different places, though. We’ve shot in Spain, Morocco, Croatia, Belfast. It changes pretty much every year.
Did you think Grey Worm would become as popular of a character as he’s become?
(laughs). No, not at all. I didn’t think I was going to last more than a season. I’m not even sure if I was, to be honest with you. I’m pretty sure David and Dan have said to me before that they weren’t really sure what they were gonna do with the character. They didn’t know if it was just going to be a few episodes here and there.
I’m really glad that people really like him and that those guys like him as well and that they’ve kept me alive so far as well. It’s cool.
We at TNWU all have something nerdy/geeky about us. What is something nerdy or geeky about you?
(laughs) Everything. Probably everything. I’m a comic book collector. I’m a big movie nerd. I think I’ve got close to 1000 DVDs now. Films, I love movies. I collect Funko Pops. I collect lots of different limited edition collectors toys. I emptied out my bag when I went to Tokyo and just filled it full of toys. I love movie collectibles like figures. I would definitely call myself a nerd. (Hlaughs).
I’ve gotta go and do my weekly comic book shop.
Which titles do you collect?
It varies. I think the series is finished now but I really enjoyed Descender. I’m really enjoying Squirrel Girl. It’s really funny.
I finished Secret Wars recently and I didn’t really like it. I thought it was all a bit too stoic and a bit too serious. So it’s really nice to read something like Squirrel Girl.
The Wicked & The Divine is really good. I really like Saga. Fables, like the end it’s just really sad. I like Ricky & Morty comics a lot. I think at the moment I’m into more of the indie titles than anything that Marvel or DC are doing. However, Dark Knight III is pretty good. I’m enjoying that. I’ve been collecting that.
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